Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Brian Hurtt
Colour by: Bill Crabtree
Published by: Oni Press
When Pauly Bones shows up at The Gehenna Room, Eddie smells trouble
“Sketchy gambler Pauly Bones has slithered into Eddie’s life with an offer – together they can turn the tables on the demon crime families and finally get what they deserve. Eddie and Pauly can’t trust each other, though, and it’s only a matter of time before one double crosses the other. With a new hired killer in town, they might both be dead before they can make their treacherous plays.”
Business is about to pick up in The Damned. Pauly Bones is back, demanding sanctuary from Eddie. The only thing keeping the demon families from breaking down the door of The Gehenna Room and dragging Pauly into the streets is their ancient deep-seated adherence to the rules. They made an agreement to stay out of Eddie’s club, and they will, but they know Pauly has to come out some time.
Pauly has won an ancient relic -a key of some sort- that the demons want
Turns out, the reliquary Pauly has lifted off a demon called Risso in a game of dice is pretty important to the shedim. Both major crime families want it, and Pauly knows he’s holding all the cards for once. Pauly has some demands he’d like to see met. Thing is, Eddie’d also like a few things from the demons himself. Between Eddie, Pauly, the Aligheris, the Roarkes, and the Verlochin, someone’s going to come out on the short end of this deal.
Cullen Bunn delivers another solid episode in The Ill-Gotten Chapter Three. This is a nice slow burn to an inevitable fatal fourway between the Families, the Verlochin, and the two troublesome humans (although one of those two is likely going to sell the other out, so I don’t know if I should count them as a team). Much of chapter three is spent on exposition that feels like anything but. Character introductions and development are smooth and natural. Dialog is peppered with period lingo, without sounding forced.
Artist Brian Hurtt and colorist Bill Crabtree bring this odd pairing of genres together beautifully. Hurtt has a flair for telegraphing character visually. You can get a pretty good read on the room just by looking around at how characters are dressed, how they’re standing, and facial expressions. Crabtree brings an Autochrome palette that deftly sells the time period and genre.
The Damned would play just as well as a straight gangster noir story or straight occult demon story. The parallels drawn between demon-kind and mobsters are so natural and seamless it makes me wonder why no one has written this story until now.